The indistinct form that is the Kasper Staub Trio‘s Havnepladen never fully comes into focus. The melodies warble and quiver and all the edges are fuzzy, as if viewed through the bleary eyes of a late-night drunk. Rhythms consist of boozy perambulations, insinuating patterns rather than stating them definitively. The album possesses a gait that behaves as if half-way to sleep, half-way to a most glorious sonic epiphany. The album’s consistency to this effect is one where it’s safe to say it was intentional. But intentional or not, the resulting entity has a personable charm that is easy to embrace.
The shimmering melody of “Hjem” is a campfire slowly dwindling, which then bursts in a shower of orange embers as the last of kindling collapses in on itself, providing one final display of warmth and light before ceding to the penultimate darkness. A similar melodic effect occurs on “Resonate” as the mere trickle of a melody suddenly spills from the cup of the song, spreading everywhere. It’s this perpetual expansion and regression that characterizes the album’s strength.
The bundle of activity that is “Jeg vil ik hjem” charts a similar course, but with a more pronounced tempo, providing a fluid, though staggered motion. This gets taken to an extreme with “Ritual,” ramping up its dispossession of form, and its bustling motion nearly steps accidentally into a free jazz expression… an act which, curiously, neatly bundles it up into something distinctive and whole. A similar scenario almost plays out on “Verdenskort,” which swings to the opposite end of the spectrum with a display of quiet, casual elegance.
But more often than not, the album is signified by tracks like “Rodinia,” with its whiplash tempo changes and “Omvej,” with its increasingly diffuse melodicism.
An album with character, even if it’s a little fuzzy at the edges.
Your album personnel: Kasper Staub (grand piano), Jens Mikkel (double bass), Anders Vestergaard (drums).
The album is Self-Produced.
Jazz from the Copenhagen, Denmark scene.
Other things you should probably know:
Both Staub and bassist Mikkel are members of the ensemble I Think You’re Awesome, recently reviewed here on Bird is the Worm. Both ensembles perform the song “Jeg vil ik hjem,” too. Here’s a LINK to that review. Go read it and listen to the music. It’s really quite special.